“Shit! I’ve done it now!” I’m racing along Central Mexico’s Arco Norte, not far from Tolcayuca doing about 120-130 KPH (maybe a smidgen faster) in a zone that’s 110 KPH at best, and I’ve just rounded a bend to be greeted by a Federal Policeman pointing a radar gun in my direction. “I guess my season of immunity has come to an end,” I think to myself as I apply the brake and hope for the best. I’m not standing on the brake; that’d be too obvious. But I’m definitely slowing down as fast as I can without making the nose of the truck dive, hoping that the cop sees that I’m at least trying not to just blow by him. But he seems unimpressed, though in an odd kind of way. His car is parked on the right hand shoulder of the road, and he’s standing holding the radar gun and seemingly indicating that I should pull over on the left-hand shoulder. This strikes me as very strange, dangerous even, as one of us will have to walk across the freeway in order to give me my speeding ticket. As I get closer he starts to wave the radar gun. Now I’m really confused. A few seconds later, it becomes clear. “Get the heck out of here, Gringo,” he seems to be saying. “I’ve got bigger fish to fry.” So I drive on, relieved to have officially maintained my perfect, unblemished Mexican driving record. Ah, if only stateside were the same.
I’m in Morelia after a wonderful two-and-a-half weeks with Edgar in Tehuacán, and it’s been very difficult to leave. I’ve grown very attached to him, and am already dying to get back. We’ve mostly spent the past two-and-a-half weeks just hanging out (there’s not too much to do in Tehuacán), and then working on his new house, painting, cleaning, dealing with some plumbing issues. Mysteriously 600 liters of water disappeared out of his tinaco overnight a week ago. Worse, the city provides water only Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. We managed to track the leak down to an incorrectly-adjusted toilet, but then had to wait three days for more water. But despite our hydraulic problems, we’ve managed to have a lot of fun together, laughing, joking, and just enjoying being in each other’s company.
My return plan has been formalized. I’ll store the truck in Laredo, and fly back to Boston on Saturday the 31st. On July 10th, I’ll return to Laredo and then drive to Tehuacán to spend an undetermined amount of time with Edgar. Four days ago, we declared ourselves “novios,” and he gave me a set of keys to his house. Our relationship is proceeding at warp speed, something that’s simultaneous exhilarating and terrifying. But the six-week hiatus should help to keep us from burning out, and I’m hoping we can make things last.
The trip to Morelia showed some of the best of the Mexican system of autopistas. The Arco Norte is a marvel of a freeway. It starts just west of Puebla on the way to DF, and then branches northwest allowing one to drive around DF completely. Yes, it’s a toll road, and the entire length will set you back by about 380 pesos or about $29 USD. But it’s worth it. The road is fairly lightly traveled, and it’s far enough away from DF that there is ZERO DF traffic on it, even on a Friday afternoon. It’s also fairly new, smooth, and pretty close to a US standard of construction and signage. Well, OK, the signage is still confusing, but otherwise it’s pretty nice. And it takes you through some beautiful country, with rolling hills, volcanoes, and verdant fields.
Crossing into Michoacán from Estado de México I passed a sign warning of an “ice zone,” which was surprising to say the least. Though there wasn’t any ice (thank god!), it was surprisingly cold, and at times was raining torrentially. I even had to use the heater in the truck, which is a first for the Mexican leg of this trip. The most remarkable thing about this ice zone? I passed another pickup truck that had MAINE plates! What are the odds? As I drove by, I stuck my hand out the window and waved. “Hola Compatriota, Nueva Inglaterrense!” wherever you might be. I hope you’re enjoying your road trip as much as I am mine. I wonder if he saw my plates and thought the same. Or was the reaction more typical? “Masshole!!!” Sadly, that’s our moniker in the other states of New England. I won’t comment on whether it’s deserved.
After the rain, I was treated to some marvelous Mexican vistas.
On arriving in Morelia, I had the pleasure of dining with Jennifer Rose of “Red Shoes are Better than Bacon,” though neither was on the menu at Parilla y Canilla, the Uruguayan restaurant where we met. Today I have lunch with “Tancho” of “On the Road to Pátzcuaro, Mexico,” and hope to meet up with Don Cuevas of “My Mexican Kitchen,” and “Felipe Zapata” of the “Unseen Moon.” Then I’ll spend a day or two between Morelia and Pátzuaro before I start heading north in earnest.
Though I didn’t get to take many photos in Morelia, I’ll leave you with one nice shot at Sunset before I sign off. Saludos!
Note to fellow bloggers: I’ve sworn off the adulatory, breathless “I just met so-and-so of such-and-such blog” post. Don’t feel offended, and please don’t write such a post about me either, LOL. I know I’ve done a couple on this trip, but I’m officially quitting. Thanks.